While Russian politicians engage in heated discussions over the problem of energy efficiency, a school in a village in central Russia is fostering the culture of saving energy to its pupils. RT took a look.
The young ones playing in the frigid chill outside MokshinoSchool outside Moscow have no idea they are at the center of a red hot topic on the Russian agenda: green energy.
Their 50-year-old school building has just been completely outfitted as a showcase for the future of energy efficiency in a country that consumes vast amounts of heat every year.
Dmitry Okorokov spearheaded efforts on behalf of the regional government, using Western advisers to get the job done.
“Western companies have accumulated a great amount of experience in energy efficiency enhancement,” Okorokov, an advisor to the head of the regional government, told RT. “And it would be unwise to refuse to have such experienced aid, and learn from ones own mistakes instead. If we did it on our own, it would be substantially more expensive and more difficult.”
That is where Jeroen Ketting came in. The founder and managing director of the Moscow-based Lighthouse Company, he helped the school put green theory into practice.
With his help, the school has gone through major ventilation overhauls and has installed a new heating system controlled by its own boiler room.
“Depending on the outside temperature, the system decides to what extent heat is given to the school,” Ketting told RT. “The only thing is that – and it’s a typical problem for Russia – the system at this moment doesn’t function because the thermometer that is hanging outside was stolen a couple of days ago. So we will need to replace it.”
Primary school teacher Larisa Molokina has taught at the school for 38 years and saw it crumble before its restoration.
“This school is my home. I love this school, and I treasure everything that is done here,” Molokina told RT. “School means everything to me. I almost live here, and I love my job. And I love my students.”
The exterior is now covered in thick insulation, a sports a new façade and sparkling double-paned windows. Larisa believes it affected her students right away.
“It did become warmer in school, the light now falls right on the desks, the blackboard is lit very well,” Larisa said.
Ecologists say there are two parts to successful energy efficiency. The first is tariffs – that is, how fast a company can make back its money after the initial investment. The second is culture – that is, training young minds to become good managers of all this technology.
With energy tariffs in Russia extremely low, the first goal has proven hard to achieve.
“It is proven that energy efficient projects in Russia have, on average, a payback of somewhere between 15 and 23 years,” Ketting told RT. “No businessman or businesswoman in his or her right mind would ever put money in that.”
Thus, the project is saving the school a little money, but is serving more as an example at this point. Officials say that soon all houses and apartments in the region will be warmer, as energy efficient projects will spread across the village in this great new experiment.
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